Friends are short on sympathy after possible COVID exposure

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My husband came down with COVID and has been having a hard time getting over it. When he first started showing the symptoms, I took him to a drive-through medical clinic and got him tested for COVID. The results were negative, so a couple of days later, I carpooled with a friend to another friend's house where seven other friends had gathered. Several days later, when my husband still wasn't improving, I took him to an ER where they did another COVID test. This time it came out positive.

I thought I owed it to whomever I was around at the get-together to tell them about my husband. At this get-together, we all wore masks. We took them off only to eat and then put them back on. It has been more than 14 days since my husband got sick, and although he is not yet over the virus, I haven't come down with it.

I thought my friends would be supportive of me and what my husband is going through. However, I learned from one of these "friends" of more than 20 years that they formed a private Facebook group to discuss how each one has been doing on a daily basis, and I was not invited to participate. I feel betrayed by these paranoid friends. At this point, I don't think I can ever look at any of them the same way. I have been contemplating ending my friendship with all of them. What do you think? -- KICKED WHEN DOWN IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR KICKED: I think you should ask the friend who told you about the private Facebook group whether any of the women got sick after that get-together. If the answer is yes, make an appointment and have yourself COVID-tested -- twice, if necessary -- to ensure that you are not a symptomless carrier. If it turns out that you are positive, tell your friends.

If you test negative, your first priority should be to help your husband get well and protect yourself from getting the virus. As to whether you should end your relationship with these "distanced" friends, from the way they are behaving, it appears they may have ended their relationship with you, and for that you have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: I recently had my hair dyed by my brother-in-law who is a great hairstylist. I have seen his work on other clients, and he knows what he's doing. I have received a lot of compliments on my new "do."

Problem is, I didn't get what I asked for. I was a coward at the time and didn't speak up. Now my roots are starting to show, and I'll be needing a touch-up soon. How do I go about going to another salon for what I want without hurting his feelings or causing hard feelings with my sister-in-law? -- COWARD IN KANSAS

DEAR COWARD IN KANSAS: Make the appointment and have your hair done the way you prefer. If your sister- or brother-in-law asks about it, say you know he is terrific and how busy he is and didn't want to "impose" further. If he's as good as you say he is, he will notice that the color is different from what he used on you.

You're not a coward for wanting to spare your BIL's feelings. You do a disservice to him, however, as a professional for not being truthful about your opinion of his work on you. If he mentions it, explain that this is a color you are more comfortable with. Your head, your choice.

DEAR ABBY: Marriage is considered to be imperative in my religion and culture. I'm 29 and still not married. I have commitment and trust issues with guys. I have been in only three relationships my entire life.

Every time things are going well, I tend to self-sabotage and make excuses to push the guy away. I start arguments for no reason or create problems or issues that I fabricate out of thin air. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that my past relationships were toxic and tumultuous. They were cheaters and liars.

I have carried that baggage into my relationship with my new partner by not believing a lot of the things he says. For example, I doubt his feelings for me. When things are going smoothly between us, I always take five or 10 steps back. It isn't fair that I put him through the wringer, but I don't know any other way. How can I get past this continuous issue? -- PROBLEM TRUSTING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR PROBLEM TRUSTING: The most effective way to do that would be to talk about this destructive pattern with a licensed mental health adviser. If you do, it may help you rid yourself of the "baggage" you are carrying, understand why you chose the men you did before, and make it easier to evaluate any new relationships that start to develop.

DEAR ABBY: I have known my friend "Matt" for more than 20 years. We've been close for most of those years.

Matt is gay, and early in our friendship, we had a mutual friend, "Gary," who used a gay epithet often, even though he knew Matt is gay. It hurt Matt, but he wasn't comfortable speaking to Gary about it, so I did. Gary not only apologized to Matt but to this day (some 18 years later), I haven't heard Gary say that word in our company.

Recently, Matt has started using the N-word. I have told him that not only is it disgusting and offensive, but I compared it to the situation with Gary. Matt laughed it off and continues to use the word with no regard for me. I have started spending less time with him because of it because I don't want him to think I condone his racist language. Is it time to sever ties with Matt? -- DISAPPOINTED IN MARYLAND

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I think so. The next time Matt uses the N-word, make clear to him that if you ever hear it from him again, your friendship will be OVER. And then follow through.

DEAR ABBY: I feel horrible about my "first time." It was with my boyfriend, and it happened in the back seat of his car. I had always dreamed of my first time being special, but after realizing we didn't have many options, we decided the car was fine. Now I feel ashamed and guilty. Can you advise me? -- NOT LIKE I IMAGINED IN TEXAS

DEAR NOT: I will try. When did your first time happen? Last weekend? Last month? Last year? Whenever it was, it is in the past. Experience teaches us what works for us and what doesn't. Learn from it, but don't preoccupy yourself with regret over something you can't change.